Introduction: Auricular reconstruction is a great challenge in facial plastic surgery. With the advances in surgical techniques and biotechnology, different options are available for consideration. The aim of this paper is to review the knowledge about the various techniques for total auricular reconstruction based on the literature and our experience.
Methods: Approximately 179 articles published from 1980 to 2013 were identified, and 59 articles were included. We have focused on the current status of total auricular reconstruction based on our personal experience and on papers of particular interest, published within the period of review. We have also included a prospective view on the tissue engineering of cartilage.
Results: Most surgeons still practice total auricular reconstruction by employing techniques developed by Brent, Nagata, and Firmin with autologous rib cartilage. Within the last years, alloplastic frameworks for reconstruction have become well established. Choosing the reconstruction techniques depends mainly on the surgeon's preference and experience. Prosthetic reconstruction is still reserved for special conditions, even though the material is constantly improving. Tissue engineering has a growing potential for clinical applicability.
Conclusion: Auricular reconstruction still receives attention of plastic/maxillofacial surgeons and otolaryngologists. Even though clinical applicability lags behind initial expectations, the development of tissue-engineered constructs continues its potential development.